WALTHAM, Mass.- The Brandeis softball team split their doubleheader as they could not rally from an early four-run deficit against Emerson College but were able to overcome a three-run hole late in the game against Lesley University. Senior pitcher Caroline Miller (Bala Cynwyd, Pa./ Harriton) led the Judges against Emerson by recording nine strikeouts and holding the Lions in check for the most part while senior CF Lauren Porcaro (Shrewsbury, Mass./ Shrewsbury) led the offensive outburst against the Lynx with a 3-4 performance including a monster two-run homerun. Brandeis' record moved to 6-8 (3-5 UAA) on the year while Emerson improved to 11-5 and Lesley fell to 3-6.
In their first game against Emerson, the Judges quickly found themselves in a hole. Two walks and an error in the top of the first allowed the Lions to tack on three early runs. A two- run home run in the top of the second inning by sophomore 3B Bianca Buono (El Cajon, Calif./ Cathedral Catholic) gave Emerson a 5-0 advantage but Brandeis would fight back. Down 6-1 in the bottom of the fifth, rookie 1B Amanda Genovese (North Haven, Conn./ North Haven) blooped a single into left field with a runner on third base. What looked like a routine play turned into an inside the park home run as Genovese saw the ball bounce past Emerson's charging LF and over the glove of their CF as she tore around the bases to cut the Lions' lead to 6-3. The Judges would tack on one more run in the bottom of the sixth when rookie designate player Nikki Cote (Shelton, Conn./ St. Joseph's) singled home Miller but Brandeis would get no closer and fall 6-4.
In the second game of the doubleheader against Lesley, Brandeis found themselves in a see-saw battle from start to finish. The Judges got off to a quick start in the top of the first Genovese walked from her leadoff spot and two batters later, Porcaro hammered a home run well over the center field wall to give Brandeis the 2-0 lead. Still, the Lynx bounced right back to tie the game in the top of the second on back-to-back hits from rookie RF Jodee Doka (Sacramento, Calif./ Waldorf)and senior 3B Jenna Fralick (Woburn, Mass./ Woburn). Brandeis bounced back with a run in the same frame and took their biggest lead of the game in emphatic fashion. In the bottom of the third, Porcaro led off by taking the first pitch she saw and smashing it into the gap in right-center field for a double. The next batter was Miller who crushed a two-run homer to center field for the 5-2 lead as she helped her own cause. However, Lesley would not go away and responded with two runs in the fourth to cut the Brandeis lead to one and a four-run sixth featuring a three-RBI triple from junior designated player Emily Mangiaratti (Amherst, Mass./ Amherst Regional). The Judges proved to be just as resilient as the Lynx when three clutch singles by senior SS Marianne Specker (South Windsor, Conn./ Westminster), rookie 3B Anya Kamber (Sammamish, Wash./ Skyline), and Miller tied the game at 8-8 in the bottom of the sixth and eventually send the game to free baseball.
During free baseball, junior pitcher Casey Ducinski (Duxbury, Mass./ Duxbury) pitched efficiently but could not overcome the handicap of a runner on second to start the inning as the unearned run crossed the plate and Brandeis found themselves down 9-8 going into the bottom of the frame. The Judges began the inning with Genovese on second and quickly put themselves in position to tie the game when Specker singled up the middle, moving Genovese 60 feet from a tie game. Kamber followed Specker with a RBI ground out to even the score at 9-9 and move Specker over to second. Porcaro singled and moved Specker to third before senior pinch hitter Ali Theodore (Walpole, Mass./ Walpole) raced to an infield single to load the bases. Finally, back in action for just the second time in six games, sophomore designated player Melissa Nolan (Windsor, Conn./ Loomis Chaffee) worked a 3-1 count before getting plunked in the back to bring Specker home for the game-winning run.
Specker led Brandeis against Lesley with a 4-5 performance including a run and a RBI while Porcaro went 3-4 with a team-high two runs to go with two RBI. Miller helped her own cause with by going 2-4 with a run and a team-high three RBI. After pitching a complete game against Emerson, Miller pitched another six innings against Lesley before Ducinski took over for two innings of one run ball including no walks and two strikeouts to earn the win and improve to 1-2 on the year.
Brandeis continues their season at home on Wednesday March 28th with a doubleheader against Wellesley College starting at 3:00 p.m.